Contents of Lab Guide:

Level I. Start
Level II. Research
Level III. Publish

Checking List for Manuscript Writing


  1. Check Font: Times New Roman, 11pt or 10.5pt
  2. Check Line: double space (except for References)
  3. No indent for the first sentence of a new paragraph.




  1. Check the writing of specific terms in the whole paper:
    • noncoding, cross-validation, P-value, V.S. (need to be capitalized), HCC/liver cancer
  2. Check if the Abreviations are consistent in the whole paper. Check if full name is used when it is mentioned first time. Occasionally, we may use full time several times in the beginning of Introduction, Methods and Suppl. Info., because they are separated documents when published.)


Grammarly ( is very helpful. It has web version, desktop (MAC/Windows) version and chrome/firefox/safari plugin.

  1. Check plural or single.
  2. Check if Past tense is used when we describe results (e.g., “We sequenced 50 samples …”).
  3. Check if Present tense is used when we make a claim or conclusion (e.g., usually in the last sentence of a paragraph, “This result suggests that …” ).

Figure and Figure Legend

Figure and Figure legend sometimes are more IMPORTANT than main text, because many senior readers read figures first.

  1. Check if Figure Legends contain sufficiently detailed descriptions. (We got this suggestion from a previous reviewer who rejected our paper.)
  2. Check if the colors are easy to see. (We got this suggestion from a previous reviewer who rejected our paper.)

Main Text

  1. Check first and last sentence in the whole paper. To make it easy to read, in every paragraph, first and last sentences are important. Usually, first sentence introduces and summarizes the whole paragraph; last sentence concludes the whole paragraph (e.g. “This result suggests that …”).

  2. Check voice:
    1. In Results, we prefer active voice, such as “We analyzed the data …”, not “The data were analyzed …”.
    2. In Methods, we may use passive voice sometimes , such as “ The difference was tested by a paired t test.”.
  3. Check sentence patterns (Useful Sentence Patterns):

    1. We performed RT-qPCR (RNA-seq …) for … → XX was validated (seqenced …) by RT-qPCR.

    2. We built a Random Forest model … → We used/developped a Random Forest model to …

    3. We assayed/analyzed … datasets.

    4. We curated/collected … datasets from … OR 100 datasets were curated/collected from …

    5. XX was significantly enriched in the noncoding sequences (t test P-valeue: 0.002).

    6. The enrichment is/was calcuated with RNApromo (ref.). The P-value cutoff is/was 0.001; the xx is/was 0.5; the xx is/was 0.8. (depends on if you are talking to the audience about a plot or describe a result you have done.)


  1. Check every result to see if it needs statistical test: Was a test used? Which one? What is the P-value?
  2. Check every enrichment to see if it was statistically determined to be enriched: What test was used? Which one? What is the P-value?